America is a patriotic nation, and many proud people hang Old Glory outside their homes to show respect and honor their freedom. There comes a time, however, when the flag you’re flying has seen better days and becomes worn and possibly torn. There is such a thing as American flag etiquette, and the experts here, have some excellent tips on how to retire an old, U.S. flag properly.
An Iconic, Historic, Proud Symbol
The American flag, often referred to as “Stars and Stripes” or “Red, White, and Blue”, remains one of the most recognizable symbols in the world since the flag’s national adoption in 1777. The flag represents what American democracy is all about. The United States has always stood for liberty, justice, freedom, love of country, and national purpose.
There are a number of rules or customs for displaying the American flag. For instance, the flag should never be allowed to touch the ground or floor. Also, you should not brush the flag against any objects, and it cannot be used as drapery of any sort.
It’s no secret that the elements such as strong winds, blazing sun, pelting rain, and falling snow will eventually wear out your flag. Another rule of etiquette says that a worn or ripped flag cannot be flown. It is also disrespectful to simply toss the American flag out with the trash.
The Retirement Of A Faded, Old Flag
American flags must be treated in a dignified manner, especially when it is time to dispose of them. You have several options to choose from when disposing of the flag that is no longer in a condition to be displayed. For instance, burning is one method that is used by the United States military when properly retiring an American flag. This technique is not often done by most local residents, but it can be pursued as long as you check with your fire department about their codes and ordinances.
When burning Old Glory, there is a protocol to follow that includes folding the flag properly, saluting the flag, and observing a moment of silence. One can also recite the Pledge of Allegiance while the flag burns.
Another method of correctly disposing of a worn or ripped flag is through burial. In this manner, the U.S. Department of Defense says that you can fold the flag properly and place it into a dignified box to keep it protected as you bury it in the ground. One of the rules in this procedure is that the flag material should not come in contact with the ground or dirt.
Next, you can observe a moment of silence as you bury the box.
Some communities across the country have American Legion chapters that will gladly accept your tattered flag. You can donate American flags to these members, and they will dispose of them properly. This method is usually convenient for busy folks who want to do the right thing and give dignity to a worn flag and know that the American Legion will take care of it.
Often, American Legion chapters will have a flag disposal box nearby, and there are also other town or city government offices that will collect tattered U.S. flags and hand them over to the American Legion. Check with your community and see if these options are available.
You can also disassemble an American flag by shredding it and then, having it recycled or buried, or burned. There are some rules to follow. For example, each of the red and white stripes must be separated. Also, you could use a pair of scissors to cut the flag in half vertically, and then, horizontally. The key to remember in both procedures is that the blue section with the stars must stay intact.
There are recycling centers that collect shredded or cut flags for proper disposal. Flag recycling has become popular with synthetic and nylon-made flags because their materials can be hazardous if burned.
The flag means much to the proud people who display it, and this treasure deserves the proper retirement when it becomes worn, faded, or torn. Follow the guidelines above in honor of this everlasting symbol.
Categories: Tips And Advice Stuff